Amruthavarshini, the Carnatic music club of NIT-Trichy performed at the 171st Thiruvaiyaru Aradhanai.
The following is an interview with Poornima (4th year ECE), the head of Amruthavarshini-the Carnatic music club of NIT-Trichy and has been published verbatim.
When did Amruthavarshini get the chance to participate in Thiruvaiyaru Aradhanai? And what standards are to be met to take part?
Amruthavarshini has been taking part in Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Aradhanai every year since 2013. Anybody who can perform Thyagaraja krithis with proper soul and bhava can participate in the festival to pay their obeisance to Saint Thyagaraja.
How do you practice for this event and what compositions do you perform there?
We first select rare compositions of Saint Sri Thyagaraja and all the club members learn the songs. Usually we perform 2-3 songs in the 10 minute slot provided to us on one of the 5 days. This time we performed 2 krithis- Ragarathna malikache in ragam Reetigowlai and bagayanayya in ragam Chandra Jyothi.
How has the experience been? As musicians, how rewarding is participating in the Aradhanai?
The experience is amazing! Sharing a stage with the biggest Carnatic musicians on a live platform with thousands of other people feels amazing and inspires us to keep up the legacy of Carnatic music.
How does this experience change the perception of Carnatic music among the team members and people around you?
Thiruvaiyaru is the final resting place of saint Sri Thyagaraja, one of the trinities of Carnatic music. So the festival brings out the ‘bhava‘ and the aspect of his compositions and we get to take part in this beautiful experience. This helps us understand his compositions better and do justice to the renditions of his songs.
How will this experience help students in Amruthavarshini in the future?
As enthusiasts, participating in the festival helps us get a better understanding of the nuances and bhavas of Carnatic music. Also the devotional aspect of the music is not something that can be taught, it can only be felt, and listening and singing saint Thyagaraja’s compositions give us that unique experience.
Any special memories that you and your team had there or while practising?
Well, practising songs and singing as a unanimous group is a very special memory by itself but a lot of smaller things like singing on the banks of Kaveri, listening to other groups perform rare compositions of Thyagaraja, early morning filter coffee, halwa– mixture in aandavar halwa kadai and the numerous selfies taken near the Kaveri river and beautiful paddy fields made the whole journey so much more enjoyable. But the best part of this year’s program was our Director accompanying us to participate in the final day festivities at the 171st Thyagaraja Aradhanai.
Which other college groups get this opportunity?
Many colleges in and around Trichy/Thanjavur come and participate in this Aradhanai. Carnatic musicians from all around the world come down here to sing on this esteemed platform.
Are there any seniors who have taken up a career in carnatic music?
Many of our seniors have given concerts during the margazhi season and are All India Radio Graded artistes. Violinist duo Gurupraanesh and Gururaghav (batch of 2016) are AIR artistes, currently studying in NUS and have performed at the Indian Instrumental ensemble at NUS. Srikanth and Srivatsan (batch of 2013) also AIR artistes, have been consistently performing at the margazhi season consistently.
Is there something else you would like to add?
During the 5 day festival musicians from all across the country and abroad come and perform in front of Saint Sri Thyagaraja shrine. All artistes, whether big or small share the same stage, and these performances happen one after another without a break. On the last day everyone sits on the banks of the river Kaveri and perform “the five gems” from the compositions of Thyagaraja. As a tribute to this wonderful festival, we organise a Thyagaraja Aradhanai in our campus, during our flagship event Manoranjani where , eminent artistes from Trichy and Srirangam come down to our college and perform the pancharathna krithis with one and all .
We are very thankful to. Dr Anatharaman who has been providing us with the wonderful opportunity to sing at Thiruvaiyaru year after year. We also hope that this tradition continues forever and many more youngsters take up Carnatic music and uphold it’s legacy. We would also like to thank our faculty advisor Dr Sreekanth for lending support to all our activities.